Trump at Value Voters Summit claims left is trying to 'silence and punish' Christians

President Donald Trump addresses the Value Voters Summit in Washington, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019. (Image: White House / YouTube)

President Donald Trump spoke at the Value Voters Summit Saturday evening and lashed out at his political opponents who he painted as trying to "tear down" Christians and other religious believers.

"They're trying to silence and punish the speech of Christians and religious believers of all faiths," Trump said. "They are trying to hound you from the workplace, expel you from the public square and weaken the American family and indoctrinate our children."

The Value Voters Summit is an annual conference hosted by the Protestant, conservative Family Research Council, which advocates for faith and Christian values in public policy and opposes abortion, same-sex marriage, and many LGBTQ issues.

Trump rallied the audience saying that the Democratic left "resent and disdain faithful Americans." He claimed that they were under threat of being "shut down" by Democrats. During an LGBTQ town hall Thursday, Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke said he would end churches' tax-exempt status if they opposed same-sex marriage.

"We're under assault," Trump said to applause. He said he would not allow the federal government or Internal Revenue Service to "target, harass or punish communities of faith" and criticized lawmakers who advocate women's reproductive rights.

The president lashed out at Democratic leaders of the House of Representatives and hurled insults at House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who is leading the impeachment inquiry. Schiff has said Trump abused the power of his office by pressuring the president of Ukraine to investigate his potential 2020 political opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden. Trump maintained that the call was "perfect" and there was "no pressure."

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